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Richard G. Wilkinson

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Richard G. Wilkinson
Wilkinson in 2018
Richard Gerald Wilkinson

1943 (age 80–81)
Alma materLondon School of Economics
University of Pennsylvania
University of Nottingham
Known forThe Spirit Level
Scientific career
FieldsSocial epidemiology
Economic inequality
InstitutionsUniversity of Nottingham
University College London
University of York
University of Sussex

Richard Gerald Wilkinson (born 1943) is a British social epidemiologist, author, advocate, and left-wing political activist. He is Professor Emeritus of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London[1] and Visiting Professor at University of York. In 2009, Richard co-founded The Equality Trust. Richard was awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Memorial Medal by the Irish Cancer Society.

He is best known for his book with Kate Pickett The Spirit Level, first published in 2009, which argues that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, obesity, and others, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater.


Richard Wilkinson was educated at Leighton Park School and Reading Technical College.[2] He studied economic history at the London School of Economics. He then earned a Masters at the University of Pennsylvania.[2] His University of Nottingham Masters of Medical Science thesis was "Socio-economic Factors in Mortality Differentials" (1976).[3]


Wilkinson's first book, Poverty and Progress was published by Methuen in 1973. He was a research student on a Health Education Council fellowship at the Department of Community Health, University of Nottingham and spent a year on a large-scale computer analysis of the possible causes of different health outcomes and social strata.[4]

On 16 December 1976, his article entitled 'Dear David Ennals'[4] was published in New Society; at that time, David Ennals was Secretary of State for Social Services. The article led eventually to the 1980 publication of the Black Report on Inequalities in Health. He was also Senior Research Fellow at the Trafford Centre for Medical Research of the University of Sussex in 2001.[5]

From 1976 onwards his career focused on research into social class differences in health, the social determinants of health, and on the health and social effects of income inequality. He has authored hundreds of research articles, chapters and books, several with his colleague and partner, Kate Pickett. He received the Solidar's Silver Rose Award in 2013, Community Access Unlimited's Humanitarian award in 2013, the Irish Cancer Society's Charles Cully Memorial medal in 2014, and was The Australian Society for Medical Research's medallist in 2017.[6]

Wilkinson retired from his post as a professor of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham in 2008. He was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. He is also Honorary Professor at University College London. In 2009 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett founded the Equality Trust, which seeks to explain the benefits of a more equal society and campaigns for greater income equality.[7]


In August 2015, Wilkinson endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, the authors of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, are a couple.[9][10]



  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1973). Poverty and progress: an ecological model of economic development. London: Methuen. ISBN 9780416776003.
  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1986). Class and health: research and longitudinal data. London New York: Tavistock Publications. ISBN 9780422603607.
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.; Quick, Allison (1991). Income and health. London: Socialist Health Association. ISBN 9780900687174.
Introduction Chapter 1: The evidence Chapter 2: Inequalities in health Chapter 3: How income affects health Chapter 4: Public health policies for the future Chapter 5: Reforming social security Chapter 6: Reforming taxation Endnote Associated conference, November 1992
volume 1. Health inequalities: the evidence
volume 2. Health inequalities: causes and pathways
volume 3. Health inequalities : interventions and evaluations
volume 4. The political, social and biological ecology of health

Articles and papers[edit]



  1. ^ "Iris Message". Iris.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b Dustjacket of his book Poverty and Progress (1973) gives a brief career summary.
  3. ^ Thesis is listed in the catalogue of the library of the University of Nottingham.
  4. ^ a b Wilkinson, Richard (16 December 1976), "Dear David Ennals", New Society
  5. ^ Richard G. Wilkinson (11 July 2001). "Mind the Gap – Wilkinson, Richard G. – Yale University Press". Yalepress.yale.edu. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Richard Wilkinson, FFPH". Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett. 4 May 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  7. ^ History- Book launch 'The Equality Trust was founded in 2009 by Bill Kerry, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.' www.equalitytrust.org.uk Archived 27 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "The Labour party stands at a crossroads". The Guardian. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  9. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Analysis, The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?". BBC. 17 October 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Analysis : The Spirit Level : The Theory of Everything?" (TXT). News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2015.

External links[edit]